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UK to donate more than 100m surplus vaccine doses, says PM UK to donate more than 100m surplus vaccine doses, says PM
(about 8 hours later)
Boris Johnson says the UK will start donating coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries in the next few weeks.Boris Johnson says the UK will start donating coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries in the next few weeks.
More than 100m surplus doses will be delivered in the next year, he announced ahead of the G7 summit. More than 100 million surplus doses will be delivered in the next year, he announced ahead of the G7 summit.
US President Joe Biden has promised half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries and the African Union.US President Joe Biden has promised half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries and the African Union.
The first 5m doses from the UK will be given by the end of September, with another 25m by the end of the year. Five million doses will be given from the UK by the end of September, with 25 million more by the end of the year.
The prime minister said: "As a result of the success of the UK's vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them.The prime minister said: "As a result of the success of the UK's vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them.
"In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.""In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good."
He said he hoped his fellow leaders at the summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, which starts on Friday, would "make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year".He said he hoped his fellow leaders at the summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, which starts on Friday, would "make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year".
What difference could half a billion doses make?What difference could half a billion doses make?
What is the Covax scheme and how does it work?What is the Covax scheme and how does it work?
The group of leaders of wealthy nations is expected to collectively agree to provide a billion doses of coronavirus vaccines in a collective effort to end the pandemic.The group of leaders of wealthy nations is expected to collectively agree to provide a billion doses of coronavirus vaccines in a collective effort to end the pandemic.
The leaders of Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy as well as the US and the UK, are also setting out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing to help hit that goal.The leaders of Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy as well as the US and the UK, are also setting out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing to help hit that goal.
Speaking in Cornwall, Mr Biden said: "The United States is providing these half billion doses with no strings attached. No strings attached.Speaking in Cornwall, Mr Biden said: "The United States is providing these half billion doses with no strings attached. No strings attached.
"Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favours, or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives.""Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favours, or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives."
The announcement came after the US and UK leaders met for the first time in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summitThe announcement came after the US and UK leaders met for the first time in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit
It is not the first contribution to global vaccination by the UK government - it has already donated over £500m to Covax, the scheme that distributes vaccines to the world's poorest countries.It is not the first contribution to global vaccination by the UK government - it has already donated over £500m to Covax, the scheme that distributes vaccines to the world's poorest countries.
And it helped develop the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which is available at cost price - with two-thirds of the 400m doses going to low and middle-income countries, including 170m to India.And it helped develop the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which is available at cost price - with two-thirds of the 400m doses going to low and middle-income countries, including 170m to India.
Why does the G7 summit matter?Why does the G7 summit matter?
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden hold face-to-face meetingBoris Johnson and Joe Biden hold face-to-face meeting
Mr Johnson wants the G7 leaders to encourage other pharmaceutical companies to also provide vaccines at cost price, while the pandemic continues.Mr Johnson wants the G7 leaders to encourage other pharmaceutical companies to also provide vaccines at cost price, while the pandemic continues.
About a fifth of the doses being donated by the UK will be delivered through specific agreements with countries in need, with the rest being donated through Covax.About a fifth of the doses being donated by the UK will be delivered through specific agreements with countries in need, with the rest being donated through Covax.
All adults in the UK are expected to have been offered a first coronavirus vaccine dose by the end of July.All adults in the UK are expected to have been offered a first coronavirus vaccine dose by the end of July.
The government has ordered more than 500m doses of seven of the most promising vaccines, including the four so far approved for use.The government has ordered more than 500m doses of seven of the most promising vaccines, including the four so far approved for use.
It is hoped that the surplus doses of vaccine could help prevent the spread of the virus around the world and in doing so, restrict the emergence of more new variants.It is hoped that the surplus doses of vaccine could help prevent the spread of the virus around the world and in doing so, restrict the emergence of more new variants.
The donations announcement comes after the UK went back on a commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, and instead cutting that to 0.5%, citing the pandemic's effect on public finances.The donations announcement comes after the UK went back on a commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, and instead cutting that to 0.5%, citing the pandemic's effect on public finances.
The donation of vaccines will count as extra aid spending on top of the £10bn promised under the reduced target.The donation of vaccines will count as extra aid spending on top of the £10bn promised under the reduced target.
Zoe Abrams, executive director at the British Red Cross, said the promise on vaccines was "heartening" but added: "While every commitment must be welcomed, more needs to be done, and fast."Zoe Abrams, executive director at the British Red Cross, said the promise on vaccines was "heartening" but added: "While every commitment must be welcomed, more needs to be done, and fast."
And Lis Wallace, head of UK advocacy at anti-poverty campaigners One, said it was "not happening anywhere near fast enough", calling on Mr Johnson to start sharing doses straight away.And Lis Wallace, head of UK advocacy at anti-poverty campaigners One, said it was "not happening anywhere near fast enough", calling on Mr Johnson to start sharing doses straight away.